On Saturday September 21, 2019 Squaw Butte members Kathy Luke, Rob Adams, Lisa Griffith, Kelly Wilkerson, Ron Fergie, David Benson, Shelly Duff & Kelly Ragland meet at the camping area along Squaw Creek near the trail head for the Squaw Creek(tr-131) and Poison Creek trails (tr-134).  Some of the members had come up on Friday night others were making this project a day ride.  Squaw Creek TR is 18 miles north of Ola, ID in the West Central mountains.By 10:00 we were saddled and on the trail, it is a short ride from camp to the trail head up the access road to the TH parking area.Bill & Marybeth Conger had been up a couple weeks before so the first few miles had been cleared of downfall, but we stopped and did some brushing were the trail was becoming overgrown.

This trail is rocky with some large slabs of granite, on one we stopped for a snack.

When we reached the point where Bill & Marybeth turned around, we started encountering down fall. We also encountered a group of bow hunters with stock. They were hiding in a bush next to a small clearing and became very unhappy when we pulled up, got out the saws and when to work removing a large tree that was blocking the trail. They left to go hunt elsewhere.

By 16:00 we were back at the trailers, having removed 14 down trees and over 1/4 mile of brush. This trail need a crew to go spend a week, doing a major brushing job and some tread work. All had a great time!

18. September 2019 · Comments Off on 9/12/2013 Middle Fork trail near Boiling springs campground · Categories: Fun Rides, Work Parties and Projects

Posted by Marybeth Conger

Another great ride with Bill Conger and our trusty four legged friends Cherokee, Scout, and Sis on the Middle Fork trail, near Boiling Springs campground, Boise National Forest. The scenery on this beautiful fall day was awesome. Completed some much needed trail clearing too with a chain saw and our mighty muscles. It just doesn’t get much better than this. If you look closely at Bill’s left lip, he is starting to smile.

19. August 2019 · Comments Off on Squaw Butte’s Member Bill Selkirk – Wilderness Volunteer Pack-In · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Link to more pictures
It is a long way from Mattawan, Michigan to Stanley, Idaho but member Bill Selkirk has made that trek a number of year to work on projects with the Squaw Butte chapter. Life long friend of Rob Adams, Bill joined BCHI in 2004, and has participated in both packing support and trail clearing project. The latest is a pack-in support project for the Wilderness Volunteers.Central Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth Wilderness are known for the rugged grandeur of their soaring 10,000 foot peaks, flowery mountain meadows, crystal clear lakes, towering alpine forests, and abundant wildlife, including elk, mountain goats, black bear, wolves, wolverines and pikas! Backpacking and hiking are spectacular in this country, and trout fishing is exceptional in backcountry lakes and streams. Our journey will begin at the beautiful Stanley Lake – just a few miles outside of the alluring mountain community of Stanley, Idaho. The area has several accessible hot springs, historic sites and other great places to play in and explore.

Our service project will be trail maintenance in the remarkable Sawtooth Wilderness. We’ll set up a base camp at McGown Lakes at 8505’ elevation after a backpack of 7.9 miles with 1,900′ elevation gain with pack support for tools, food and commissary supplies. Crew will camp at McGown Lakes and hike about a mile to project location on other side of 8,800’ pass. Our project will be to assist the Forest Service to complete trail maintenance of many of the trails out of our basecamp at McGown Lakes. Most of the work will be focused on heavy trail maintenance and tread repair (Iron Creek – Stanley Lake Trail 640) above Sawtooth Lake. Tread will need to be regraded to standard width with hand tools, rocks removed with hand tools and some rock wall constructed. Free time can be spent exploring the ever beautiful Sawtooth Wilderness – relaxing, fishing in alpine lakes, taking pictures, or setting off on a more strenuous hike to the secluded Trail Creek Lakes.

We highly recommend that those coming from low elevation (anything below about 5,000 feet) plan an extra couple days in the area before the trip to acclimate to the elevation for your own safety. Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling from low elevation to high elevation and getting acclimatized before the trip is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. If you need ideas on things to do/see before the trip contact your leaders.Trail Head at Stanley Lake
Elevation: 6,525.59 ft. Lat: 44.255891 Lon: -115.046060

McGown Lake
Elevation: 8,517.06 ft. Lat: 44.178483 Lon: -115.076432

On Saturday August 17, Tom Zahradnicek, David Benson, Bill Selkirk and Rob Adams joined a Wilderness Volunteer seven member crew and Bryce Parker (Sawtooth lead wilderness ranger) at the Stanley Lake overflow area. The WV crew were going to back pack in their personal stuff, while we were packing in tools, kitchen and food. Between us we had seven pack stock and it look like they were going to have light loads.  During the night one of David’s mules got her self tangled in high line and lead rope and ended up on her back with her legs tied up like a calf at a rodeo.  She seems to have suffered no major damage, but in the morning had a very swollen leg and a nice limp so David and his stock needed to head back to Caldwell and not into the mountains.  With five pack stock left, we divided the gear and built loads and by 09:30 were heading up the trail for the 9.8 miles to McGown Lake.

The trail up Stanley creek canyon is a very easy ride for about 2/3 of it length with a number of crossings of the creek for water opportunities for the stock. The last section to the saddle that crosses into the Payette river drainage is a number of switch backs up a steep and rocky wall. At the sign for McGown lake the trail turns into a goat path that climbs over a ridge and down into a basin that contains a number of ponds and small lakes, the largest and most scenic we left the equipment we packed in.At 5 pm we arrived back at the trailers, tired, sore and very satisfied at the days work. Bill will be heading out soon to visit his brother in New Mexico, but he will have some great memories of his day in the Sawtooth mountain visiting an area he had not ridden before. Link to more pictures

24. July 2019 · Comments Off on My First Trail Project – Wilson Corral – West Central Mountains · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Today, I really enjoyed the opportunity to help clear the Wilson Creek Trail near Ola, Idaho. It’s great to ride and work with a well-organized team and also with a talented and knowledgeable leader like Rob Adams. I had a great time and even at my age and long-time trail experience, I still learned a lot from Rob.

I look forward to the next adventure and wish there was more activities on the calendar I can’t wait to go again.

Thanks again!

Tom Zahradnicek

15. July 2019 · Comments Off on ITA – Alice Lake Packing Support · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

Camping location at the Tin Cup trail headTrail to Alice Lake
July 13 & 14   Alice Lake Pack-In

02. July 2019 · Comments Off on Yellow Jacket & Tyndall Creek Trails · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

On June 22, 2019 members Rob Adams, Janine Townsend, Janelle & Troy Weeks, were joined by Treasure Valley members Justin & Shauna Stucker and BNF northern trail crew members Nikki & Anthony. Anthony had ridden with us at this location in 2018 when we had removed over 50 downed trees, and expected to do the same this time. READ MORE

12. June 2019 · Comments Off on Twenty-Mile Creek Project · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

Join Alice, Phil and Rob on a one day project near Upper Payette Lake.

02. June 2019 · Comments Off on 2019 National Trail Day – Peace Creek · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects


29. November 2018 · Comments Off on BCHI – Chapter Squaw Butte 2018 Miles & Hours · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA, Work Parties and Projects

Spreadsheet is available – Contact Rob Adams

Click on Sheet to see larger View

05. August 2018 · Comments Off on Wilderness Volunteer’s – McGown Lake Project · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

Packing Support Wilderness Volunteers – Sunday August 26, 2018  (Trails Event)
Location: Stanley Basin – Sawtooth Wilderness
CREW PACK-IN is Sunday August 26
Trail 17.4 miles round trip, 2,266 elevation gain
Pack-In Support for Volunteer Trail Crew
Map   Trail Status    Project description  
Location: Stanley Lake trail head to McGown Lake 
Contacts:  Jay Dorr (USFS) &  Zoe Putter (WV)
Project Leader: Rob Adams 208-781-0548

On Saturday August 25th members of Squaw Butte drove to Stanley Lake and set up camp in the overflow area where members of the Wilderness Volunteer trail crew and the USFS wilderness ranger would meet us.Around 3PM a truck stopped at our camp and ask us if we had noticed the smoke plum over McGown Peak? It had become a bit smokier but we had not noticed, but we did now. By 4pm it was snowing ash and the air was becoming very smokey.By 6PM the Wilderness Volunteers had arrived and we discussed the situation over a beer and the concensis was the McGown project needed a plan “B”! A phone call was made to the USFS Dispatch center and they Contacted Jay Dorr who arrived around 7pm. The WV crew had moved their camp to a camp ground NE of Stanley along the Salmon River. Jay agreed that the McGown Lake project was toast for this year and he would talk to the WV crew about working on the Queen’s River trail near Atlanta, ID which would not need pack support.

The Squaw Butte team talked about leaving then or waiting for morning and chose to stay. BUT, by 11:30 pm the smoke had gotten worse and Rob decided to bale, waking up everyone while packing up and loading his stock.

(ROB) If you want to see wild life drive from Stanley Lake to Banks after midnight! Deer (many), Elk (6),Fox (2), Owls (2) and some weasel like animal. Elk were standing in the middle of the road around a blind corner, didn’t hit any, but it caused me to slow down even more from the 40, I was doing going down the hill from Banner summit to Lowman. Smoke made driving conditions fog like.

(Terry) turned into a very interesting night after you left, Jon’s horse tried to kill himself on high line, got back to bed and David decided to load his mules, so it was a short night! We were going to go to Bull Trout Lake, but Jon’s horse was swollen from rope burn so just came home.

Trail we would have used to take the crew into McGown Lake in relationship to the fire on Saturday.

Incident Overview

8-26-2018 Wapiti Fire grows near Grandjean  (VIDEO)

Fire crews continue to battle the Wapiti Fire, located near Grandjean, which is now an estimated 4,000 acres. A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered and will arrive this afternoon.

An area closure is being put in place around the Grandjean area for public and firefighter safety. National Forest System Road 524, which leads from Highway 21 to Grandjean, is closed.

Four cabins and 1 outbuilding have been lost to the fire. No injuries have been reported.

The fire has burned actively throughout the morning. While several spot fires have been found south of the South Fork Payette River, they have all been caught to this point. Firefighters continue to patrol this area to keep the fire north of the river.

Currently there are 7 engines, 3 helicopters, 3 heavy air tankers, 1 handcrew and 1 water tender engaged in fighting the fire. Several more handcrews, along with engines and water tenders, have been ordered.

The fire was first reported at 2:12 p.m. on Aug. 25 and the cause is under investigation. Currently there is no reported percent contained, nor is there an estimated date of full containment.

Cabin owners and those who had to abandon campgrounds during the evacuation as asked to call the Lowman Ranger District (208-259-3361) for information about when it will be possible to gain access to the area.

From: Zoe Purtzer <zpurtzer@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Subject: Re: Wilderness Volunteers-Sawtooth NRA Trip-August 26th-Sept. 1

Hi Rob,
Apologies for delay in response. Work has been busy. We took 3 volunteers up to the big horn Crags and they put in for the rest of the week on a backpacking trip. Darrell and I stayed up there until Thursday, then headed back to Boise to visit friends. When driving through Stanley, we noticed that the Sawtooth Wilderness area was still closed.

We are on the trip as leaders for next year, but we have asked for earlier dates in August. Wilderness Volunteers will arrange the trip dates and release them before Xmas. I’ll keep you in the loop. We wanted different dates, as the booking is slim during holiday times (Labor Day). We can get a full group booked, we can accomplish a considerable amount of work.

I’ll let you know the trip dates or contact Aida at Wilderness Volunteers if you have input for trip dates. I’m not sure who the FS contact will be this year, as Lies & Jay are both retired now.

Aida would know.
Hope you fall season is going well!
Be well and safe travels
Zoe & Darrell

17. July 2018 · Comments Off on ITA-Baker Lake Pack Support (Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness) · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

BCHI Pack Support: Trail 17.4 miles round trip, 2,751 foot elevation gain
Location:   Baker Lake – Little Boulder Creek Trail Head – East Fork Salmon River
Project Discription    Map1    Map2   Map3
Contacts: Jay Dorr (USFS) & Jeff Halligan (ITA)


The Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness is part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and was designated a wilderness area in 2015. It is situated along the Salmon River adjacent to the Salmon River Mountains in the Salmon-Challis National Forest and to the north of the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness and the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness. The Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness is a special area due to its combination of sub-alpine lakes, abundant creeks, hiking trails and the limestone and metamorphic silicates which give the mountain peaks its striking white appearance. There are numerous spectacular mountain peaks includinf Propsect Point, Robinson Bar Peak, Lookout Mountain, Watson Peak, O’Calkens Peak, David O. Lee Peak, Merriam Peak, Castle Peak and Blackman Peak, many of which are over 10,000 feet in elevation. There is incredible fishing in the dozens of clear sub-alpine lakes in the area including the Big Boulder Lakes and Boulder Chain Lakes, The Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness is host to many beautiful creeks including Blind Creek, Elk Creek, Warm Springs Creek, Beaver Creek, Germania Creek, Little Boulder Creek, Chamerlain Creek, Bear Lake Creek and many more. The hiking season is short with the alpine wildflowers bringing the area alive with color in the months of July and August. There are fabulous opportunities for viewing the scenery, plants and wildlife in this beautiful and very special wilderness. The Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness offers opportunities for recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation and historic purposes. Motorized vehicles and bicycles are not allowed in any designated wilderness areas. MAP:

History of Mining in the area and how the SRA came to be!     MINE MAP      Baker Lake Claim
On Friday August 10 Jeff and Rob drove up to the Little Bolder trail head to secure camping space for the rest of the BCHI crew, Phil Ryan, Bill Conger, Janelle Week & David Benson. On Saturday Phil, Bill & Janelle drove up. David truck broke down east of Lowman and he had an adventurous weekend getting his stock home and his truck into a repair shop.The drive is around 4 1/2 hours from Horseshoe Bend, all but the last 3 miles on good paved roads.On Saturday Rob and Jeff each packed up three pack stock and took the kitchen and tools up the mountain.    When we got back to the trail head, the rest of the team was setting up. We grilled steak and potatoes for dinner and were in our sleeping bags early as we knew we would have a busy day on Sunday. The ITA volunteer crew started arriving right after we had breakfast and it didn’t take long to pack up their stuff.  The ITA crew received a pre-project briefing while we loaded our stock and got headed up the mountain

The BCHI crew made good time up the 8.7 miles and 2571 elevation gain to the camp site at Baker lake and had our stock unloaded and a quick lunch before heading back down the trail.

Back in camp the stock napped in the shade while we enjoyed a cool beverage and shared stories.On Saturday August 18 we will again be riding out of the trail head to pick up the ITA crew. More to Come!

16. July 2018 · Comments Off on ITA – Farley Lake Pack Support (Sawtooth Wilderness) · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

The blue line is our track from Tin Cup trail head to the crew camp by a waterfall west of Farley Lake.
See More Pictures
Tin Cup Trail head, east of Pettit Lake.Jeff and I arrived on Friday and set up camp at Tin Cup. We then sorted out five loads that we wanted to get up to the trail crew camp on Saturday along with the cook, Mary Jo.We got under way around 09:00 with me towing three pack horses and Jeff towing two and Mary Jo riding. The trail while rocky is in good condition and passes through some very pretty country. Horse and deer flies were a problem, with spray seeming to have minimal effect.The trail crew camp is just short of six miles in with a elevation gain of around 1250 feet.  Wild flowers were at their peak.

We made the ride up 2 1/2 hours and the return in just over 2 hours. On Sunday the crew would be arriving with their stuff at 10:00 and there were still loads that we didn’t get up on Saturday. Phil Ryan arrived Saturday afternoon and would be helping with the packing on Sunday. He brought two pack stock. On Sunday morning Rob packed up three more loads and was on the trail by 08:30. Jeff and Phil meet the trail crew, collected their stuff and were on the trail by 11:00.By 13:30 all the equipment and personal gear was at the trail camp and by 15:00 all the stock and packers were back at Tin Cup and packing up for the trip home.On Saturday July 21 Squaw Butte members Rob Adams, David Benson and Mike Heilman and Treasure Valley member Leah Osborn, joined Jeff Halligan to pack out the ITA trail crew that had been working up at Farley lake.

09. July 2018 · Comments Off on Bull Trout Lake Weekend · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Turn off highway 21, just past Banner summit on a gravel road, look for the Bench Creek camp ground sign.

More Pictures Three trails ridden, fishing, amazing food, and interesting conversations around the camp fire, a totally awesome weekend!

25. June 2018 · Comments Off on Yellow Jacket Trail Head Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

Yellow Jacket trail head is south east of Cascade, Idaho. You get there by taking the warm lake road to the west side of the lake and driving south for seven miles on a series of gravel forest service roads. It is a popular area with a number of camping locations, interesting trails and good fishing.  Video    See More Pictures The camp site we used is on the South Fork of the Salmon river and is large enough that multiple groups can use it. There is good access to water for the stock and trees for high-lines.  There is plenty of room for a number of trailers.Ten members of Squaw Butte signed up for this event, Janelle & Troy Weeks, Kelly Ragland, Shelly Duff, David Benson, Charles & Lorraine Chick, Fanny Berki, Shannon Schantz, Nancy Smith
and Rob Adams. Joining us were three members of the Boise National Forest northern trail crew, Hailey Brookins, Tom Shearer and Anthony Snelling. With this large number of people and stock we broke up into three different trail teams. Some explored the trail and roads available from this trail head, while the trail crew tackled the Yellow Jacket trail. This area has experienced multiple fires and has sections with many dead trees that gravity had not toppled yet. This last winter, many of those trees came down.
The team encountered down trees the moment they crossed the river and that continued for the three miles of trail that they completed of this seven mile trail on Saturday. We ran out of time and energy, not trees. We cleared around 50 major trees with chainsaws and a lot of brush and smaller ones with hand saws. It is likely there are 50 more in the remaining four miles.

One tree fell dead center on a bridge, it did no damage, but required a number of careful cuts to remove it.

By 16:30 all but the fisherman had returned to the trail head. We were tired, but all had enjoyed their day in this scenic area of the Boise Nation forest. A shady spot was found, cold beer or other beverages were opened and stories of the day swapped. One group had found a large still standing tree that some fool had tried to cut down, but got scared and stopped before he made the final fall cut. The result was a very dangerous tree ready to fall down over the road. They reported it to a fire ranger who was looking to see if any of the lighting strikes from the Friday night thunder storm had started any fires. That tree will be removed first thing this week, likely by blasting. Dinner was excellent and the talk around the camp fire lasted until the last of the alpine glow left the mountains.

More Pictures           Lou Ann’s Directions
June 2, 2018 was National Trails Day and Squaw Butte likes to make this project weekend fun for it’s members and to put our organization in front of the public. The Peace Creek trail head fits both of those requirements.  Working with Charlie Jarvis, the Boise National Forest trails supervisor, we got the camping site reserved for our team and planned a full day of trail clearing and sawyer education.

Thirteen members and seventeen stock meet at the trail head camp, most arriving on Friday night. Camp was set up and stock feed and then an ad-hock dinner was prepared and shared. Even with a nice camp fire, when the sun went down around 21:30 the air turned cold and all wandered off to their warm sleeping bags.  Morning came about 06:30 when the first of us got up and the stock noticed.  Soon they were all asking to be feed and by 07:00 coffee was being sipped around the fire.  Lisa had pre-made breakfast sandwiches which Bill warmed in the oven of his camper.  By 08:30 we were saddling up and when Charlie Jarvis arrived ready for our project safety meeting.

With 13 members plus Charlie and multiple packing stock, we broke up into two teams, one would work the main Peace Creek trail with Charlie and a second would work the lower valley trail that connected to the Devil’s slide trail.

Peace creek trail (blue) Devil’s Slide Trail (red)

Rob, Shelly, Lou Ann, Nancy and Shannon worked the lower trail, while Chick & Lorraine, David, Lisa, Phil, Charlie, Fanny and Jon worked the main trail.  Bill stayed in camp, fished and got some fire wood for our evening fire.

On Rob’s crew, Shelly did all the work while Rob took the role of limb swapper and sounding board as Shelly worked out her plan to tackle each down tree we encountered. Lou Ann helped with limbs and took all the pictures.  Nancy and Shannon arrived late and had a nice ride on the trail we had just cleared.

This tree had a complex bind and was stressed like a big spring, Shelly had to determine how to safely release the tension and then she could cut it up and remove it from the trail.
After 20 trees were removed and six miles of trail cleared, it was time to head back to the trailer for happy hour and munchies. The other team had arrived back just before us. They cleared a bit over 5.5 miles of trail, but didn’t clear as many trees, as a motorcyclist had started working the trail the weekend before. Charlie had wanted to survey general trail conditions and look at a rock slide that will need major work. After a great dinner that included pork tenderloin and moose, beers were drunk and stories swapped. If you didn’t cook, you helped with the dishes.

By 21:30 most of us had wandered off to our sleeping bags for a great nights sleep. Sunday dawned clear and not as cold, a great breakfast of onions, moose, eggs and potatoes, with home-made bread and hot coffee. Some headed for home and some of us took a fun ride before heading for our respective barns. This was a very successful project weekend and all who attended had a great time.

16. January 2018 · Comments Off on Trail Bridge Catalog – USFS/BLM · Categories: Public Lands, Work Parties and Projects

Standard Trail Bridge Drawings and Design Aids

The Forest Service has standard drawings and design aids for the construction of trail bridges. The standard drawings/design aids have been designed and developed in accordance with Forest Service Manual and Forest Service Handbook directions. The following information is provided FOR REFERENCE ONLY.

All bridge drawings should be approved for each specific bridge by a qualified engineer with trail bridge design experience. Drawings are intended to provide ideas for layout and detailing. No drawing or detail should be used for construction without design review by a qualified engineer. Forest Service bridges must be approved and/or designed by the Forest Service engineer or manager responsible for engineering.

The drawings are not meant to be used as individual sheets and should not be used by themselves. A complete drawing package should be downloaded so that the designer has all the required information for reference. All drawings are in PDF format and can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Currently, only four regions within the Forest Service have standard drawings/design aids. These are Northern Rockies Region (R1), R6 Pacific Northwest Region (R6), Eastern Region (R9), and Alaska Region (R10).

There are two different ways to download the standard drawings/design aids.

The first way is to download a complete set of drawings in a single PDF. This method should only be used with a high-speed Internet connection.

The second way is to download each individual drawing in PDF. This method is recommended for dial-up connections.

Additional Trail Bridge Resources

The following resources give additional information on planning, siting, designing, constructing, inspecting and maintaining trail bridges. All of these items should be included in the decision process to select the best structure for aesthetic design, sustainability and longevity.

22. December 2017 · Comments Off on 2017 Squaw Butte Miles & Hours Summary · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

24. September 2017 · Comments Off on Stacy Creek Project – Payette National Forest · Categories: Fun Rides, Work Parties and Projects

Stacy Creek, is in the Payette National Forest, about 20 miles north west of Weiser, off upper Mann Creek Road. On Saturday September 23, 2017 Seven members of Squaw Butte and a ranger named Matt from the Weiser ranger district met at the parking area at the intersection of Mann Creek and Adams Creek roads.

The first order of business was to work on the trail bed of the Mann creek & Stacy creek crossing. This crossing had some large rocks and a drop off that were not horse friendly.  After spending some time considering options, the team determined that the best approach was to move two large rocks and a number of smaller ones, creating a trail up the slope that a horse could easily handle.  With rock bars we were able to move the circled rocks to new locations.  As hunting season was in full swing, traffic on Mann Creek Road was busy, so we moved our rigs to the southern end of the trail to ride, see Map.

The original plan was to park at the gravel pit, but when we got there it looked like an RV park so we continued to the trail head. Parking there was limited due to someone putting their hunting camp in the middle of the parking area, but as we had Ranger Matt with us, we parked our rigs all around his camp. P1 first parking location, P2 second!

The trail starts from this location and follows what appears to be a logging road for a bit over 3.5 miles. This section of trail is very pretty and shaded and made perfect fall riding. Once you are down to creek level, the trail turns single track and follows Stacy Creek north to Mann Creek road. This section of the trail is around 3 miles long.  If you combine the roads a loop could be made, but do it when traffic is light.

Shannon and Nancy put on their Sawyer protective gear and removed some blow down that was blocking the trail, and Rob and Matt cleared about 200 feet of Hawthorn bush.  The thorn of this stuff goes right through leather gloves so handling takes care and cutting it is not high on fun thing to do lists.







We returned to our trailers a bit before 16:00, and were on the road for home by 16:45. Members attending were: Nancy Smith, Shannon Schantz, Janelle Weeks, Lisa Griffith, Lynn & Peggy Garner and Rob Adams

04. September 2017 · Comments Off on McGown Peak – Pack Support Project – August 26 – September 2 · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

About Wilderness Volunteers:  https://www.wildernessvolunteers.org/about-wv.html

The Project:

Central Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth Wilderness are known for the rugged grandeur of their soaring 10,000 foot peaks, flowery mountain meadows, crystal clear lakes, towering alpine forests, and abundant wildlife, including elk, mountain goats, black bear, wolves, wolverines and pikas! Backpacking and hiking are spectacular in this country, and trout fishing is exceptional in backcountry lakes and streams. Our journey will begin at the beautiful Stanley Lake – just a few miles outside of the alluring mountain community of Stanley, Idaho. The area has several accessible hot springs, historic sites and other great places to play in and explore.

Our service project will be heavy trail maintenance in the remarkable Sawtooth Wilderness. We’ll set up a base camp at McGown Lakes at 8505’elevation after a backpack of 6.5 miles with pack support for tools, food and commissary supplies. Crew will camp at McGown Lakes and hike about a mile to project location on other side of 8,800’ pass. Most of the work will be focused on heavy trail maintenance and tread repair (Iron Creek – Stanley Lake Trail 640) above Sawtooth Lake, where the trail has sloughed in and become narrow and hazardous. Tread will need to be regraded to standard width with hand tools, rocks removed with hand tools and some rock wall constructed. If time permits Observation Peak Trail 614 which has not been maintained in several years will need heavy maintenance using a crosscut saw to clear downed trees, digging new trail tread, moving rocks, dirt and vegetation. Free time can be spent exploring the ever beautiful Sawtooth Wilderness – relaxing, fishing in alpine lakes, taking pictures, or setting off on a more strenuous hike to the secluded Trail Creek Lakes.

Additional Information: Crew will hike in about 6.5 miles from Stanley Lake Trailhead, or about the same distance from Iron Creek Trailhead. Pack stock will transport gear from Stanley Lake (6,500’) to the campsite at McGown Lakes (8,505’). This area was burned in 2003 by the Trailhead Fire. Iron Creek Trailhead (6.700’) and trail to Sawtooth Lake are the most heavily used access in the Sawtooth Wilderness, and for good reason – the spectacular alpine scenery is unparalleled! Expect hot temperatures and strenuous work on exposed mountain side with world class views. Water for the full day will need to be packed from camp.

This project is rated as a challenging project.

– Strenuous with longer backpacks, off-trail backpacks, sometimes with significant elevation changes. Also trips with camping and work at elevation, or canoeing with portages. These trips are very challenging and require excellent aerobic conditioning, past experience in outdoor settings and familiarity with backcountry camping. Challenging projects are not for beginners.

We highly recommend that those coming from low elevation (anything below about 5,000 feet) plan an extra couple days in the area before the trip to acclimate to the elevation for your own safety. Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling from low elevation to high elevation and getting acclimatized before the trip is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. If you need ideas on things to do/see before the trip contact your leaders.

Who can Volunteer? https://www.wildernessvolunteers.org/who-can-volunteer.html

WV Leaders for this Project

Aidalicia Swertfeger
is vying for that “life less ordinary” as she attempts to merge her zest for the outdoors with her technical education in communication design. Growing up in the foothills of the Sierras, Aidalicia lived for winters snowboarding in Tahoe, something she misses greatly. Having moved to Austin, Texas to complete her degree, she has realized she needs texture and pitch in her horizon. Planning on a Pacific Northwest relocation, she’ll continue on as a runner, an IPA girl, an avid solo traveler, a thru-hiker and a practitioner of minimalism.

The project trail is indicated by the area circled in red.
The Trail to the camping and work area was from the Iron Creek Trail-head, to Sawtooth’s lakes southern end. This is the second most popular trail in the Sawtooth area and is utilized by hikers, back packers and their pets!

Back Country Horsemen of Idaho – Squaw Butte Chapter volunteered to provide packing support for this project working with the Wilderness Volunteer leaders and the Sawtooth Ranger District.

From: Dorr, Jay -FS
Sent: Friday, August 25, 2017 09:06
To: Zoe Putter ; Rob Adams
Cc: Caitlin Frawley -FS; Dean, Liese -FS
Subject: RE: McGown Peak – Pack Support Project – August 26 – September 2

Stanley Lake drainage is still closed for fire and crew did not finish cutting out trail to McGown from that side.

Plan to go in from Iron Creek and camp at Sawtooth Lake.

I would rather not send pack string up that trail with all of the foot traffic it gets or have crew camp at Sawtooth Lake with all of the other use it gets. There is usually lots of traffic on Labor day weekend.

That is our best alternative with the fire in Stanley Lake drainage. Crew can work on original project. If they finish and have time, they can work around Sawtooth Lake and down North Fork Baron a ways. They can make some repairs in narrow spots along Sawtooth Lake. There are a lot of rock to remove from trail going that way.

If there are not campsites at Iron Creek Campground, there are undeveloped sites back down road.

Horse trailer parking may be difficult when Rob comes back to pack out camp. He may have to park a ways back down road.

I have been away working on other parts of forest and have not had email access until this morning. Caitlin is working on fire for a few days.

Please get word out to crew on change of meeting location and access. Sorry for short notice but fires are never convenient.

Have a great trip,


On Saturday August 26, members Terry & Gail MacDonald, Jon & Dianne Seel, Laurie Bryan, Janelle Weeks, Lisa Griffith, Shelly Duff, Janine Townsend and Rob Adams meet at Stanley lake camp ground to work with the rangers and WV volunteers getting their 130 pounds of tools and their food and kitchen up to the work site at Sawtooth Lake.  Caitlin Frawley was the ranger who would be working along side the WV volunteers and was our contact for this effort.  On Sunday morning Caitlin delivered the tools, food, kitchen and other equipment to our camp site.  We had scouted the Iron Creek trail head and determined we didn’t have suitable parking for all the trailers so choose to take the Alpine Way trail from Stanley lake over to Iron Creek, making the ride to the camp site and back 22 miles.  After getting packed up we started out from Stanley lake and made pretty good time up the steep and little traveled trail.  At mile 6.5 we started encountering downfall and at mile 7 two dangerous creek crossings.  At this point it was getting late and we turned around to give it a try the next day from the Iron Creek Trail-head.

Laurie Bryan August 28

Packing supplies in to a wilderness trail crew at Sawtooth Lake. The first day got a little rough and two of the guys had to bailed on us. Regrouped the next day minus the two. The next day and a different route, five women, 11 horses, 1 mule and Rob made it to the lake without incident. The “G” in Girl Power now stands for “Get ‘er done.”  Laurie took most of the pictures on this project

Janelle, Decaf and Tucker

Laurie Bryan August 28 ·

Shelly rounding “Oh Shit Drop.” I have no idea what’s it’s called – but that’s what I’m calling it. Pictures do not do this section justice – besides – I’m trying to shoot pictures and trust that Jack isn’t going to plumet to our death off these sheer faces. The most wicked trails I’ve been on I think. Absolutely beautiful. I would love to take some of the folks who scoff at “trail horses” for a little hike on these trails. I think their opinion of “just a trail horse” might change.

Janine talking to some of the many trail users we met while packing for this project, with very few exceptions each encounter went well, with the other users very interested in what we were doing and the stock. Lots of pictures of us were taken.

On September 2nd,  Janelle Weeks, Lisa Griffith, Shelly Duff and Rob Adams returned to Sawtooth lake with five pack stock and packed out the crew.

See More Pictures

Movie made by Janelle

08. August 2017 · Comments Off on Yellow Jacket Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Nancy Smith

Yellow Jacket trail,Cascade Idaho,was very smokey but we had a great time and saw lots of wildlife and cut lots of trees . I hope, I got my sawyers certification. We’ll see what the FS says ,,
Yippie. Some very stylish head gear worn by our members
Janelle Weeks

Some work had already been done on the Yellow Jacket Trail, however, we cleared out several downed trees and other trees and brush that will make for safer travel along the trail. It was a warm day w/ a good layer of smoke from nearby fires – which made for sweaty, smoky, dirty days…with great food and conversation from all at the end.  It was a busy weekend in the Boise National Forest; campers, motorcyclists, equine enthusiasts, bicyclists, fishermen, etc. Good to see that our work is enjoyed appropriately.  Also good to see wildlife so prevalent! We had several visits from the resident deer.

See More Pictures   /   Video

03. December 2016 · Comments Off on Wilderness Volunteers Schedule 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects


Project Schedule by Date

Click on a project name for more information. The fee for 2017 projects is $299. If you want to be on the waitlist for a project that is currently full, submit an application. We will notify you if space becomes available. If you are still interested in doing the project, payment will be due at that time.  Remember, December registration for Summer/Fall 2017 projects (projects from July to November) is limited to Supporters of Wilderness Volunteers. You can become a Supporter by making a donation to Wilderness Volunteers.



01. December 2016 · Comments Off on 2016 – Hours & Miles Summary (Squaw Butte Chapter) · Categories: Current Events, Work Parties and Projects


23. August 2016 · Comments Off on Wilson Corral TR135 & Gabe’s Peak TR136 · Categories: Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Project dates: August 20/21, 2016
National forest: Boise
Ranger District: Emmett
Trail Head Road: FR 653
Trail Miles worked: Completed TR135 / Complete Trail TR 136 (cleared to upper meadow on each trail)

TR135 Down Fall Encountered: 45
TR135 Down Fall Cleared: 45
TR135 Trail Brushed: where needed

TR136 Down Fall Encountered: 15
TR136 Down Fall Cleared: 15
TR136 Trail Brushed: Where needed

Wilson corral pictures

We encountered a lot of large downfall, much of it up-rooting’s of otherwise healthy trees on the Wilson Corral trail. A number of work arounds are no longer necessary as we reestablished the original trail bed. West mountain is the driest I have ever seen it in the 16 years I have been riding there. Creeks are dry and the grass in the upper meadow is brown.

On Gabe’s Peak trail many of the downfall were from previous years, and had work arounds, we reestablished the original trail bed, unless erosion made the work around a better option. A re-routing of this trail up to the ridge should be considered, with a number of switch backs replacing the 10 to 20 degree climb almost straight up. With the mostly dirt trail bed a lot of erosion is a problem as well as an almost un-hike-able trail.

Squaw Butte Members on the Project
Rob Adams
Lisa & Tom Griffith

Pictures taken on this project

23. August 2016 · Comments Off on Squaw Creek TR131 North & Poison Creek Tr134 · Categories: Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Blue trail Saturday / Red on Sunday

Project dates: August 6/7, 2016
National forest: Boise
Ranger District: Emmett
Trail Head Road: FR 625
Trail Miles worked: 5 TR131 / Complete Trail TR 134

TR131 Down Fall Encountered: 45 (about 2/3 of the trail was worked)
TR131 Down Fall Cleared: 45
TR131 Trail Brushed: First Mile (This trail need a lot of brush removed, it would make a great Boy Scout project)

TR134 Down Fall Encountered: 1
TR134 Down Fall Cleared: 1
TR134 This trail need to be remarked. Game and cattle trails make it very difficult to follow in many places, from the trail head to bridge needs brushing.

Sign at junction for TR131 & TR 134 is missing, just two nails in the tree it was attached to. Unless you know where to turn, you will miss the TR134 turn off.

We re-routed a section of the 131 trail that ran along squaw creek, a very large tree up-rooted right next to the creek and fell a crossed it. The large tree well is now part of the creek bed and with the next high water will completely wash out. See included pictures. We move the trail about 30 foot up the hill side which was protected by a rock and trees. There is a short 25 degree climb from old to new trail, the horses had no problem doing it.

We saw two back packers on TR131, a first, we ran into a number of cows and saw a lot of bear sign, but no wildlife. Huckleberry were very tasty.

We plan to go back to Squaw Creek the weekend of September 10 to complete the upper third of the trail.

Squaw Butte Members on the Project
Rob Adams
Leah Osborn
Travis (last name unknown)
Lisa & Tom Griffith
Shelly Duff
Kelley Ragland
Nancy Smith
Shannon Schantz

Pictures from this Project

05. July 2016 · Comments Off on Kennally Creek Project weekend · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Kennally_Johna_Acorn_Smile KennallyCreekProject2016

11. June 2016 · Comments Off on National Trails Day 2016 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

Peace Creek

 Middle Fork of the Payette River
Squaw Butte BCHI
June 4 & 5, 2016

June 4, 2016 is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®, the country’s largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day events will take place in every state across the country and will include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, bird watching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more.

Squaw Butte each year plans a national trail day project, it the past they have been held in state parks picking up trash, the Payette national forest fixing trail bed and this year at the Peace Creek Trail head, removing a large quantity of fallen trees that were blocking two trails.

Read More: 2016 National trails day             More Pictures

19. May 2016 · Comments Off on 2015 Season Accomplishments for the McCall/New Meadows Trail Crew · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects


PNFTrailCrew2015  See the whole report

18. May 2016 · Comments Off on FY 2015 Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Program Accomplishments · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

2015 Trail Accomplishment end of season report NZT01Eagles Nest Trail Project
District: Cascade
Trail No. 11104
The Eagles Nest Trail was inspected on November 13, 2013. The trail was inspected from the boundary of Idaho State Land and Boise National Forest where the 400 road parallels the trail. The Eagles Nest trail is a moderate to high use trail located in a remote are on the Cascade Ranger District
Purpose and Need:
The project is located approximately 1 mile from a parking area along the 400 road. The trail crosses several small ridges and descends to the first stream and Stream Environment Zone (SEZ). The SEZ area is approximately 15 yards long. The trail then ascends up and over a small hill to the next SEZ. The length of the second SEZ is approximately 53 yards. The trail ascends out of the marshy area and heads northeast. The approaches to both areas are very steep and incised. The grades exceed 25% and there are large quantities of sediment entering the SEZs and the perennial stream that runs across the trail. The wet areas are highly impacted and have significant trail braiding from users trying to find a better route. The total length of the project is approximately 425 yards.
The reconstruction of this section will improve public safety, reduce significant ongoing resource damage, and improve the overall user experience.
Completed Repair: The project is currently under construction. The estimated time of completion is mid-October.
– Realignment and construction of approximately ¼ miles of new trail
– Decommissioning and restoration of ¼ miles of existing trail
– Construction of two Puncheon/Causeways approximately 70 yards long


Project in the Yellow Pine Area


17. May 2016 · Comments Off on Trail Project Season is Finally Here! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

TP06TP07TP02TP01TP04TP03TP08 Attending a BCHI Project Weekend

28. April 2016 · Comments Off on Annual Boise National Forest Partnership Meeting – May 16, 2016 · Categories: Current Events, Public Meetings, Work Parties and Projects

Subject: Annual Boise National Forest Partnership Meeting

Trail Partner Volunteers:

I hope all of you have had a good winter and are rested up for the summer season! Trail season has arrived and it is time for the annual Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Program Partnership Meeting. I was hoping to have the meeting in Boise area  the on Monday , May 16, 2016. I have talked with a few of you and 7:00pm seems to allow time for people in the outlying areas time to arrive. I was considering about having it at the following location:

Idaho Pizza Company
7100 W. Fairview Ave
Boise, ID. 83704
(208) 375-4100

It is a fairly centralized location and I have been to meeting with several groups there and you can get a bite to eat if you wish. If there are other suggestions, please let me know soon because I’ll have to see if one of the meeting rooms are available.

I have attached several items of importance for you and your members to review. The most important is the 2016 Voluntary Service Agreement. If your organizations current representative could review, sign, date the form and send it back to me as soon as possible that would be a great assistance. I would like to present them to my District Ranger for approval before the annual meeting. This is very important!

We will review 2016 work calendar, safety items, update daily sign-sheets, trail work reporting sheets, future projects, and any other trail topics you would like to discuss.

Some of the current projects already scheduled this year are the following:
2016 Annual Trail Maintenance
Ten Mile Bridge Replacement
Rice Peak Connecter Layout and NEPA
Stratton Creek Trail Reroute Layout and Repair
Stoney Meadows Bridge Replacement
Wilson Corrals Puncheon Layout and Reroute
Renwyk Reroute Layout
Bull Creek Puncheon Replacement
Julie Creek Heavy Maintenance
Peace Creek upper trail repair

Additional Programs
Implementation of 2016 Non-motorized Grant. Partnership with American Conservation Experience. Partnership
With Idaho Trail Assn, BCH of Idaho
Implementation of 2016 Motorized Maintenance Grant Partnership with Boise ATV, Emmett ATV, TVTMA and Idaho

Department of Parks and Recreation
Implementation of 2016 Mountain Bike Grant: Wewukiye Trail Construction. Partnership with SWIMBA
TVTMA annual Lowman Trail Maintenance Day
Emmet ATV annual Sage Hen Maintenance Day

If you have additional work days for me to add to the calendar please let me know. I would like to staff as many of your projects as possible.

If you know of any other individual who would like to attend, please pass this information along.

Thanks again for all of your support and help! I am looking forward to seeing all of you this season.

John Hidy
Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Supervisor
Lowman Ranger District
US Forest Service
Desk 208-259-3361 ext. 7539
Cell (760)920-2774

Boise National Forest Volunteer Project Sign in Sheet

2016Volunteer Trail Report Form

2016 VSA trails

2016B NFTrails Calendar

2016 Lowman_trail_ annual_maintenance

Emmett trail rotation 2016

cascade rotation 2016


23. October 2015 · Comments Off on 2015 Year in Review · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

2015-xx (12)

Squaw Butte 2015 Events and Projects

05. October 2015 · Comments Off on Horses! Slow Down! Stop! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Work Parties and Projects


Read about our Boiling Spring Weekend and view more pictures at!

02. October 2015 · Comments Off on PPE – It is not just a fashion statement! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects


Laurie starts cutting a wedge

Laurie starts cutting a wedge

DO NOT go into the woods without it!

07. September 2015 · Comments Off on Labor Day – Wilson Corral Trail · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

By Rob Adams

Want to make a group of young girl’s day, pull into a trail head they are camping at with a couple of horse. That is exactly what happened to me on Sunday September 6, 2015. I wanted to get some trail time on my back up horse Tucker and I also wanted to finish up work I had started at Wilson Corral. Read More

23. June 2015 · Comments Off on Northern Payette Nation Forest Trails work ’14 and ’15 · Categories: Current Events, Work Parties and Projects

pnf-bridgeHere is a summary from last year 2014 and the Trail Plan for this year 2015. 2014 accomplishments are just that….The Trail Plan FY15 has a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter for BCH, but on page 5 of 26 you will find Central Zone Trails Level One Maintenance Plan. This list shows what we plan to get done this summer in house, but we hope to accomplish more.

Level One Maintenance – “opening of trail” (log out and light brushing)

Unfortunately, with all of this stuff it is just Central Zone(McCall and New Meadows). In the future I am going to get West Zone(Council and Weiser) organized in the same fashion.

Lastly, are the trails we have assigned to the ID State Trail Rangers. We are hoping to get two hitches from them and for them to exceed what is on the list.

Kent May- FS [mailto:kmay@fs.fed.us]

2014TrailAccomplishments         Trail ranger request 2015     2015 McCall & New Meadows Trail Plan

08. June 2015 · Comments Off on Boundary Trail Project – National Trails Day · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects · Tags: , , ,

Cows are way scarier than bears and other such truths



The Boundary Trail maintenance project would be the first SBBCHI project where I would leave my camper at home. An unusually hectic weekend meant turning this project into a day ride. Fortunately, the Payette National Forest is practically in my backyard. The Boundary trailhead is an easy 50 miles haul from my driveway. I loaded Jack early Saturday morning for the haul up 95 to the Seid Creek turnoff. Being camper-less would turn out to be the “first” of several “firsts” for me during this National Trails Day weekend

Click the link below for the complete story:


Link to photos



21. August 2014 · Comments Off on Middle Fork Payette river trail – TR033 (north end) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

PMF01Nine members of Squaw Butte spent a great weekend at a new camp site for us, off FR 409 east of Cascade, ID on the head waters of the Middle Fork of the Payette river. The forest service map on Trail 033 indicates this is it northern termination and checking it out and doing some trail maintenance seemed like a good idea. The camp site is one of the best we have every used, the trail was a disappointment. After clearing about 3/4 of a mile the trail could not be found, it is likely it was washed out by high water over the years.
PMF02The trail head / camping site was excellent with trailer parking, water for stock and shade for setting up a great group area.
PMF03This sign indicated we were in the right place and we found a defined trail bed and logs that had been cut by prior trail maintenance efforts.
PMF04A survey on Friday night indicated that the trail had some major downfall and the best plan of action was to start the project on foot, and only get the stock on the trail after we had cleared the first 1/2 mile of trail.

PMF06Unfortunately at the 3/4 of a mile mark the trail could no longer be located. It appears that the original trail bed has been washed away by the river and we could go no further. After a good lunch, the group did a nice afternoon ride.
PMF07While the group didn’t accomplish what they had hoped on trail 033 north, we all had a great time. SEE MORE PICTURES

13. June 2014 · Comments Off on National Trails Day 2014 – Steck Park Trash Pick Up · Categories: Work Parties and Projects · Tags: , , ,
The gang picking up trash

The gang picking up trash


National Trails Day 2014

What: Trash pickup

Where:  Steck Park to Crazy Lady Gate

When: June 7th – National Trails Day 10:30 AM – completion

Potluck at my place after the project

Latex gloves = highly recommended

BYOB (bring your own bags)

  View more pictures

This was our second year spending National Trails day picking up trash along the Snake River from Steck Park to the red gate – or as I now call it: “Crazy Lady Gate.”  It would be hard to top last year’s adventure and frankly, that would be perfectly fine with me. If you would like to know why – follow this link to last years story of “The Crazy Lady of Steck Park”

Janine, Lou Ann and Nancy trailer-pooled to my house Saturday morning. I had spotted Rob’s trailer heading for the park at 8:00 AM while on the ditch setting my irrigation water. He was either real excited to start this project or he miscalculated the traveling time. Either way, he took advantage of his early arrival by napping.

The girls and I were a little late in leaving my place.  A cool breeze billowed through the open windows – the fridge jammed full of delectable food temped all to skip the project and head straight into the pot-luck. Surely we could come up with some excuse as to why we didn’t show up on the river. Conscious got the better of us, however, and the girls followed me to the park on a road made of washboards and dust.

There was a slight failure in communication at the trail-head. Rob and Bob parked at the old Dutchmen’s corrals on the hill before the boat-dock. I figured since we weren’t camping- I‘d park at the boat-dock to avoid the cattle guard.  Janine parked somewhere in the middle for the sake of democracy. I think she might be running for office in the near future.

It’s about 5 miles from the boat-dock to Crazy Lady Gate. The sun was high over-head and hot. Hotter than last year at this time for sure or maybe it was the long sleeve shirt I wore. I still had a few spots of poison ivy on my forearms that flare up when exposed to the sun. Whichever it was – I was crankier than Lou Ann’s palomino mare, Brandi.

Bob, Rob and Nancy walked most of the five miles to Crazy Lady Gate. Lou, Janine and I rode into coves before dismounting to pick up trash. This year’s winning trash items were plastic water bottles,  bait containers and used toilet paper (hence the highly recommended latex glove).

Stinking catfish carcasses – cans of stale Keystone doubling as spittoons and the ever popular streams of toilet paper were about all this germ-a-phobe could handle for one hot, poison ivy covered day.  “This is just stupid. Whose idea was this anyway? This is a dumb project.  Littering should be a hanging offence right up there with horse thieving.” If the others had known what a bad mood I was in, they would have pinned a red ribbon to the back of my pants as a warning like they do horses that kick. I felt like kicking something!

It’s hard to stay in a bad mood for long with Janine and Lou for company. “Hey Laurie, your hat matches Lou Ann’s shirt,” Said Janine. “It does, and my hat matches Janine’s shirt!” Said Lou Ann. “Hey… and my hat matches your shirt, Laurie.” Janine says. “I know, let’s all trade hat’s and swap horses and see how long it takes the rest of them to notice!” Seriously…next ride – we are doing it.

We stopped to chase a herd of cattle before turning into the next cove. Correction, we would never chase those cows (in case there are any ranchers reading this). We merely moved them to the opposite side of the road from the cove so they didn’t come after me and kill me as soon as I dismounted. I’m telling you – it can happen. Actually, Janine and Kiger moved the cows. Lou and I hung back and watched from afar. Both of our horses understand the imminent danger lurking within a bovine herd.

Janine moving cows

Janine moving cows

We somehow picked up Bob in the second to last cove. Nancy and Rob had gone on ahead to the last cove at Crazy Lady Gate.  Lou and I rode on to meet Rob and Nancy while Bob and Janine turned back to spare Kigers’ hooves. The road is five miles of sharp rock that can cause even a shod horse to gimp a little.

Rob and Nancy had taken care of Crazy Lady Cove by the time Lou and I got there. We rode back toward the park, picking up Janine and Bob on the way. Rob said he would let the park host know where we had left the garbage bags. Last year, the camp hosts were grateful that we had spent the day picking up trash and happily went back after the bags. This year’s camp host was not at all impressed. He let Rob know that it was not part of his host duties and under no circumstances was he taking his four-wheeler out of official park boundaries. Funny, he looked like he could use the exercise. I’d go after the garbage later that evening.

We made it back to my place just in time to watch California Chrome almost become the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown…almost. I sympathized with owner Steve Coburn’s emotional outburst. A Triple Crown winner would have been a huge shot in the arm for a sport that has lost popularity over the last 40 years.

After everyone left, I hooked my small utility trailer to my four-wheeler and Shade and I drove the 25 miles to Crazy Lazy gate. The trailer bounced and rattled over every wash-board and pot-hole on the planet. Fishermen and campers stopped to stare: “Nothing to see here folks – move along…move along.”

Several times the jarring bounced the back rail off the trailer and I had to go back for it. One such time I looked back and a group of cows had gathered around it as it lay in the dirt. I suppose they were curious. A big momma cow pawed and gave it a rough nudge. “Hey – I need that ….SHOOO!” Not one of them cows “SHOOO’d” an inch. Now what? I had to have that back rail or all the garbage would bounce out before I got home.  “Shade – get them cows out of here!” Shade lunged for the cows. Most of them moved. The big momma cow ducked her head and chased Shade back toward the four-wheeler. Here she comes, shaking her head with fire and smoke billowing out of her nostrils. You are on your own dog – I jumped on the Honda and sped up the hill as Shade clamored onto the seat behind me. Momma cow gave up the chase and meandered back to her mob. Shade and I warily coasted back down the hill to retrieve the rail.

Shade on her Four-Wheeler

Shade on her Four-Wheeler


The trailer wasn’t as bouncy or noisy with the weight of the trash bags in it but that didn’t stop the fishermen and campers from staring as we rambled by the various campgrounds.  I secretly hoped I’d meet the camp host when I drove through the park. I had concocted a story to tell him about how, while picking up the bags, I found a duffle bag full of drug money. I sure was glad he wasn’t allowed to take his four-wheeler out of the camp or he would have found it instead!

Shade and I made it home before dark – a good thing since the trailer doesn’t have lights. I parked the stinking pile of trash far from my front door where it would sit until the dump opened on Tuesday. I counted the number of bags we’d picked up; 13 bags – less than half of what we picked up last year. Maybe that was a good thing – maybe we made a dent in it last year or people were littering less.

A contest was in order. There would be a major REWARD for the first person to guess the correct number of large black plastic trash bags I’d put in my trailer. Luckily for me – nobody won the contest…I had no idea what the major REWARD would have been. However, if it wouldn’t have been major – it most certainly would have been unique. I’m thinking a box of latex gloves and a quart of hand sanitizer.

21. May 2014 · Comments Off on Dusty Roads and Dandelions (aka North Fork Wilderness Owyhee BLM Project Survey) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects · Tags: , , ,
Heading down a dusty road

Heading down a dusty road

If one does not count getting lost, a flat tire, broken shocks, two tipped over horses, several impalements and a flyaway awning…one might consider the SBBCHI scouting trip into the Owyhee’s a  success.

The objective: Meet with BLM staff at Current Creek to scout area for fence removal project in June. The project will involve the removal 6 miles of barbed-wire in the new wilderness area included in the Owyhee Initiative.

At least we had an objective. An accurate map would have been nice to go along with that objective.  Janine and I met at I.O.N between Homedale and Marsing. Our plan was to haul in via the Jordan Valley route. We figured if anyone was going to get lost, it was best to get lost together.  I had the GPS coordinates to the project site; however, past experience with “Dave” the GPS has left me with emotional scars likely to never heal. We were also unsure if the coordinates were to the camp spot or the actual fence. Our plan was to wing it.

Click here for the full story:Dusty Roads and Dandelions

Project survey

Click here for the full set of pictures on Picasa

19. September 2013 · Comments Off on The future of Backcountry Horsemen of America · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

There’s more to backcountry horseman than a bunch of old people running around in the woods clearing trail. We are also concerned with fostering relationships with the future of our organization – the youngsters.

The average age for a SBBCHI member is somewhere around 62 years of age. Most of us are pretty tough and I suspect most will be running around in the woods sawing trees well into our 90’s – however, nature being what it is, we won’t live forever. It is a solemn fact that if we do not recruit the younger generation – the Backcountry Horsemen of America will eventually die off…or if you’d rather; ride the final trail into the great backcountry wilderness in the sky.

Sage Writer Blog       Read rest of this story        More Pictures

28. August 2013 · Comments Off on Kennally Creek to Needles Trail Project · Categories: Work Parties and Projects


I have to admit, I was a little disgruntled when I heard the Cabin Creek project had been moved to Needles Trail above Kennally Creek Campground. I knew how to get to Cabin Creek. I drove up a week earlier to scope it out. My new smart phone’s GPS, “Andy” took me right to the campground without missing a beat or expecting me to drive down game trails. The area seemed ok to me. There was ample room to park for several big rigs and stock water was close enough to make due.  I took note of the amenities, cut a load of wood on the way out and followed Andy’s directions for the quickest way home.

Unbeknownst to me, Rob was scoping out the area at the same time. He wasn’t happy with the old logging road trail that wound through a burn or the less than ideal water situation. He was right, it wasn’t the prettiest place on the mountain and if you’re going to spend the weekend working your butt off it might as well be on trails with at least minor aesthetic appeal. I grumbled and frowned when I read the email from Rob that he had moved the project. For the first time since joining the chapter I had a heads up on where I was going and how to get there and Rob goes and jerks the rug out. Later I was glad he did.

Click here for the complete story in .PDF

Click here to view the pictures of this project in Picaso

14. August 2013 · Comments Off on Squaw Creek and Poison Creek Project · Categories: Work Parties and Projects


~How to break in a new member of the SBBCHI~

“Is there an App for that?”

What  is the best way to break in a new member of the SBBCHI? Strap a pair of saw chaps on her and send her up one of the most technical trails on the mountain. Enter – Squaw Creek TR 131 and Shelley Duff – Squaw Butte’s newest member.

The original plan was to clear Poison Creek Trail on Saturday and loop down Squaw Creek or pick up Squaw Creek on Sunday. We rode Poison Creek last year and made it a short distance past the bridge before encountering a massive tangle of blow downs obliterating the trail. We didn’t have the saws or the girl-power to put a dent in that one. I say “girl-power” only because our small group consisted of a woman to man ratio of 2:1.

The Ranger District notified Rob that a trail crew had already cleared Poison Creek.  Change in plans. We would concentrate on Squaw Creek Trail Saturday and check out Poison Creek on Sunday.

Click here for the complete story

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06. July 2013 · Comments Off on Logistics · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects


Logistics is the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet some requirements. Just like the UPS commercial, the Renwyk Creek and Tripod Peak projects were all about logistics. The first logistic problem was how to schedule and manage two separate projects on the same weekend. The projects were trail maintenance on two trails out of the Renwyk Creek trail head north of Sage Hen, the second was packing over 1500 pounds of food, water and equipment from Joe’s Creek Trail head to the Tripod Peak fire lookout with members of the Boise National Forest crew.  Read More     Pictures

Chick working a log on Renwyk Creek Trail

Chick working a log on Renwyk Creek Trail



Yellow Jacket to Telephone Ridge Trail Project

It’s all in the timing. Janine and I pulled into camp, north of the Telephone Ride trailhead, Saturday afternoon just in time for super!

The crew chatted about the day’s project while preparing the evening meal. Members that arrived Friday evening spotted a pair of wolves passing through camp. Phil said the wolves paid little attention to them and showed less interest in the horses tethered in camp. Bearing slight resemblance to the shy, elusive creatures of the past, the massive animals dwarfed a large German shepherd. It would be wise to keep our dogs close and contained at night.

Saturday morning the six member crew covered a 15 mile loop from Yellow Jacket to Tyndall. Trails were reported in excellent condition due to previous maintenance by the TVMA. Some light pruning of overhanging limbs and removal of a few “widow makers” finished off the trail maintenance for ATV’s and horses.

After a dinner of DO baked chicken, stewed potatoes and onions, chili relleno casserole, baked beans and cherry upside-down cake, our crew hunkered down for what promised to be another chilly night with temperatures in the upper 20’s.

Sundays are normally a day of leisure and light riding on these weekend projects. Those that stay over will spend a few hours in the saddle enjoying the scenery during a relaxing day ride. At least that was our plan.

The first half of Telephone Ridge to Rice Peak is a steep grade that appears to never end. Hundreds of charred trees lined the trail as we wound our way through a burn. Obstacles were not a problem as the TVMA had also cleared this section of trail to the snow line. One good wind and that could all change in a hurry.

The reward for cresting the top is a lovely view of the Sawtooths. A family of ATV riders stopped at the overlook and visited with several members. Someone commented what a shame it was that the ATV’ers had missed catching sight of a small lake and the old fire lookout. I enjoy my Honda Rancher – but give me a good horse and comfortable saddle any day of the week.

The trail dropped off the ridge to a creek and disappeared. Phil thought the area looked familiar from his trip several years back. Rob took off on foot to scout a route that would drop us into Rice Lake and the trail leading home. The rest of us ate lunch and waited.

“It’s like this…it’s doable, but it has to be a unanimous decision. Everyone goes or nobody goes and we go back the way we came.” Rob went on to explain that we could make our way over the saddle and drop into a large meadow. The road picks up at the edge of the meadow on the far side of the bowl. The problem was the descent into the bowl. A large snowfield the size of a football field covered the steep slope. “It’s steep – but it’s not that steep if we lead the horses through it.” Rob, define “not that steep” for us again?

Phil volunteered to go first. Aside from a slight detour into a tree, he led his big red gelding down without incident. Jon followed Phil and Rob followed Jon. Rob led his riding horse and let the pack horse go on her own. Janine was riding a brand new, barely out of the pasture little Kiger/mustang that she was not all that familiar with. It was agreed that Gambler the Kiger would follow Rob down with his string. Everybody was on board with that except Gambler. He was not consulted in this decision and was not leaving Janine behind. He peered over the edge as Rob and his string slipped and slid their way down the slope. Janine took Gamblers lead and the duo cautiously made their way safely down. Lorraine and her horse Sassy were next. With a little coaching from the previous ascenders – Lorraine and Sassy picked their way down the mountain.

I looked at Chick. Chick looked at me. “Well…do you want to go next?” I asked.  Chick crossed his arms in front of him and shook his head. “Nope. I’m going last…I’ll be right behind you.” Great…apparently, not only can Chick belt out a toe-tapping rendition of Froggy Went a Courting, but he was also a mind reader. I had no intention of diving off that ridge with a 1200lb horse on my heels. If I could get Chick down before me, there would be no one to prevent me from getting back on my high horse and heading back the way we came!

I took a couple of steps. Jack took a couple of steps. “Shoo! Shoo horse! Go down the hill in front of me! Go on…Shoo!” Jack did not shoo. He pawed at the ground and commenced to roll. What happened after that is a blur to me but I’m sure the others got an eyeful they will never forget. I yanked on Jacks’ lead to keep him from rolling – he jumped up and bolted across the slope at an angle. I did my darnedest to cut him off from running back up to toward Chick. I did not succeed. He bolted in the other direction, lost his footing and went sailing down the slope like a giant buckskin covered toboggan picking up speed by the second. I thought for sure he would tuck his head and flip ass over teakettle. I barely had time to get over the image of him breaking his neck when my horse careen out of control down the hill and body slammed into a large granite boulder. I winced at the impact and imagined a shattered shoulder moments before he jumped up and dashed toward me across the slope. I threw up my arms, “Whoa Jack!” Jack did not Whoa. He bolted past me, made an abrupt 90 degree turn uphill and sunk clean past his belly. There he sat; stuck in a hole. His upper half sticking out of the snow – the rest of him buried midway past his girth. Now what horse? I could barely hear my comrades shouting words of encouragement (I prefer to believe it was not laughter) and advice from below. “Get hold of his lead and pull him downhill!” Ok. I can do that if I could find his lead. I followed the lead from this halter to where it disappeared beneath the snow. I tugged on the lead. It did not budge. I guessed he was stepping on it. Jack struggled a little and the lead came free. I think I heard someone shouting up more advice, “Don’t let go of that lead again!” Excellent advice; Ok…I can do this. I will not let go of this lead. I pulled Jack’s head slightly down hill. He heaved himself up and stood. I peered into the hole he had made when he broke through the rotten snow and damn near got sick. I don’t remember making it the rest of the way down the hill.

I hardly remember Chick coming down the slope but I must have been watching because I got pictures! Gathered together at the base of the ski slope, Janine met me with a big smile and two thumbs up. Phil, more animated than I’m accustomed to seeing him, grinned like a schoolboy: “That was a kick! Let’s do it again!” I do believe he meant it.

I did a quick exam of Jack. Running my hands over his legs to feel for injuries, I found two small scrapes and a minor laceration on the inside of his left hind leg; a small price to pay the fiddler for such a dance. I hugged my horse tight, swung into the saddle and followed my comrades through the meadow to the road that led to camp. A total of 18 miles that peaked out at 8200 feet in elevation.

Gambler had been a trooper the entire ride. The young five year old had barely been out of the pasture and under saddle for little more than six months. He diligently carried Janine up that ridiculous grade without complaint. He proved himself calm and level headed on the ski slope. Now, barefoot and sore, the little Kiger trudged onward seeking soft ground for his tender hooves. Janine would not push him. We let the others hotfoot it back to the trailers while we took our time and let Gambler pick his way. We got off and walked the last few miles to ease his load. If it had been possible, I would have tossed him over my saddle and let Jack carry him home.

We broke camp and said our goodbye’s as one by one, SBBCHI members brought an end to another successful and rewarding project.


The End

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06. June 2013 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – Steck Park Cleanup · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

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15. May 2013 · Comments Off on Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects


Eric Melson here from the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation writing to update you about three volunteer trail maintenance projects this summer within the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness. We’re looking to fill these projects with volunteers, maybe you could be one of them? Please feel free to pass this email along to folks who may be interested in joining us for a projects this summer. Here’s what we have cookin’:

Volunteer Registration Packet 2013        SBFCF Southwestern Idaho 2013 Projects

29. September 2012 · Comments Off on 2012 Squaw Butte Trail Warriors · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

National Trail Day

Between June 1st and September 30th 2012 Squaw Butte supported nine trail maintenance projects.  These projects covered a large section of south western Idaho, taking place in the Boise & Payette National Forests and the Frank Church Wilderness.  They were in partnership with the Emmett and Weiser Ranger Districts and the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation.

The work covered a large spectrum of activities, from packing, to rock rolling, but mostly entailed the removal of a very large amount of blow down and pruning.  We also did some major tread improvement removing a rotted log bed section through a bog and replaced it with a gravel trail bed.  Read More

26. September 2012 · Comments Off on W. FK. Brownlee Creek · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

West Fork of the Brownlee

Trail #266

The West Brownlee Creek project brings closure to the 2012 season of work projects for the SBBCHI and a sad farewell to a valuable partner, Mike Mullin, Payette National Forest West Zone Recreation contact. Mike has accepted a transfer to Lincoln Montana: “… Lincoln is very close to my wife’s family and I love the area due to its proximity to the Bob Marshall wilderness complex so I couldn’t resist applying when a position came open.” We will miss Mike’s enthusiasm and dedication to partnering with our Chapter’s mission of keeping America’s trails open. However, we are happy for Mike and his family and look forward to making contact with the new PNF liaison, Jascha Zeitlin.

It’s time to hit the trail and leave the sad news behind! Mike made arrangements to send Ryan, one of his crew, to assist us with the trail work on Saturday, September 22nd. Ryan would meet us at the trailhead by 9:00 AM. It’s a good thing too – otherwise, I would have gone the wrong direction at the creek and cleared the wrong trail! I really need to look into doing something about my navigational skills..or lack of.

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07. September 2012 · Comments Off on What did you do with your August? · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Squaw Butte members were on the trail a lot in August. We had a trail crew support project on Marble Creek in the Frank Church, trail maintenance project at Wilson Corrals and Squaw Creek on West Mountain, and two pack trips, one to the Bob Marshal and the other to the Eagle Caps. What did you do with your August?

Marble Creek team

Members on the Marble Creek support project were Phil Ryan, Jake Lemon and Janine Townsend


August also saw Idaho back country Burning!

Wilson CorralLaurie

Down fall was heavy this year due to micro-bursts in the west central mountains.


As hard as we worked in August, we still had a great time.  So JOIN us on one of our upcoming event!

I am having major writers block in regards to a blog piece for the Squaw Creek/Poison Creek work project the weekend of the 18th. Nothing exciting happened at all. Nobody got bucked off, rolled on, stepped on, kicked, bit or required a medical evacuation. There were no injuries other than a few aching shoulders expected with the type of work we do. The only blood I saw the entire weekend was my own, and that didn’t occur until the last few minutes before loading up and heading for home. I got so bored I decided to use my pocket knife to cut the witches knot out of Annie’s tail. I missed her tail and sliced my finger; hardly anything to write home about, let alone blog about. I considered making something up. Not a lie exactly – more of a fictional elaboration of the actual events to sort of spice things up. I might convince Rob to go along with some fantastic account of adventure and intrigue, Lou Ann, however, is a different story. Lou Ann insists on seeing that I remain grammatically correct and honest in my storytelling at all times. Programmers.

We came, we cut and we conquered. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. It makes for a fairly drab blog piece, doesn’t it? Actually, the previous weekend was much more interesting, but has nothing to do with Back Country Horseman and would be more appropriate for another blog. I had just ridden out of the Eagle Caps after spending the earlier part of the week following a band of hippies through the mountains. As I said, this story is best left for another blog – but I will say this: What happens on the mountain does not necessarily stay on the mountain. One word of advice – DO NOT eat dried fruit prepared by a hippy chic living without proper sanitation facilities – no matter how hungry you get.

Jack had thrown a shoe sometime between the hippy excursion and home. I called every farrier I trusted within 100 miles without gain. I gathered all the old shoeing tools I could find, tossed in a handful of nails and picked up two size 0 front rims at D&B on my way through town. I can tack on a shoe in an emergency if I have to. I hoped I didn’t have to.  

Completely ignoring Dave the GPS – I followed the directions from the web site to Squaw Creek campground. I opted to go the long way through Ola. Even with newly installed trailer brakes, bearings and two new trailer tires, I didn’t feel up to four wheeling my way this weekend. It was just too easy. I pulled into the campground without making one wrong turn. At least it appeared to be the campground from the directions. Rob mentioned he would try to be there by noon and place a few signs. There were no signs and no Rob and it was coming on 3:30 PM. I temporarily high-lined Jack and Annie and parked my rig in an area easy to spot should anybody drive by, and waited.

 I wandered around the area checking it against the map. This had to be the right spot. Where was everyone? I hadn’t brought any feed for the horses and there was not much graze where I had high-lined. I decided if nobody showed up in the next few hours, I would move the horses to graze and set up camp for the weekend, right spot or not. As it was, Rob pulled into camp several hours later. Jack and Annie would be glad to see the certified weed free hay and I was proud of my sense of direction for probably the first time in my life. 

Rob took a look at Jack’s hoof and determined it would probably do more harm to tack on a shoe than to leave it as is. Jack has good, sound feet and they had grown out enough to give him plenty of hoof wall protection against the rocky terrain for one weekend. I brought along a pair of emergency barrier boots in case we were wrong.

 Lou Ann arrived just before dark. The three of us would make up the work crew for the weekend. I brought out a chicken broccoli casserole for dinner and the others tossed in various vittles to go along with it. Still feeling the effects of the previous weekend’s hippy adventure, I turned in early.

Saturday morning the three of us hit the trail bright and early. It was an experience in mounting/dismounting. A deadfall lay across the trail every 100 yards or less. Toward the top of the trail, one of the saws threw a bearing and seized up. The remaining saw was in need of sharpening and fast became worthless. We soon had nothing more to cut trees with than a paper weight and a spoon.

We reached the meadow about 3:45 PM. Lou Ann and I are still uncertain what came over Rob. One minute he’s meandering casually across the meadow, the next he’s spurred Payette into a lope and is dashing off carefree into the middle of a small group of cattle. It could be that Rob, not unlike Gus McCrae from Lonesome Dove, felt compelled to ride out in search of adventure for the pure joy of it…for no other reason than because he can.

Rob prepared chicken with a mushroom sauce and wild rice. Lou Ann had made green beans to die for and I whipped up a Dutch Oven peach cobbler.  I had brought the wrong Dutch oven for the job. The lid was the rounded, burry in the ground variety, and I needed a lid with a lip to hold the briquettes in place. Rob scrounged through his DO supplies and came up with an acceptable lid that would make do. That is pretty much how it goes on these trips – nobody expects perfection and everyone pitches in and makes do where needed. Aside from a little ash around the edges – dinner was served.

Poison Creek trail on Sunday would be cut rather short. A tangled mass of a dozen or more blow-downs blocked the trail shortly after the bridge crossing. We split up in three different directions to scout out an alternate route before coming up empty handed. We made the determination that Poison Creek would have to remain closed for the time being. We had neither the saws nor the man/girl power to tackle this one today. Rob would contact the FS and have them flag a route at their discretion. Squaw Butte would open Poison Creek on another day.

I looked down at the blood trickling from a small slash in my index finger. Well, that was the most eventful thing that’s happened all weekend. I wonder if I can’t come up with something a bit more exciting for the blog. “There we were – the three of us – each dedicated members of the Squaw Butte Back Country Horseman of America, face-to-face with, until now, an undiscovered tribe of hostile natives. The chiefs menacing black eyes sent shivers up my spine as the sun glinted across the razor sharp knife he held in his hand…”